Review by Ron Phillips
Edited by Amanda Blake Sutter
The idea of a web-series is to tell an intricate story in a serial format. However, with the attention span of the current average web user this proves to be a difficult task that must be accomplished in an average of seven minutes or less. Tom Hank's animated webseries Electric City has been all the buzz in this social media generation and for good reason. The story encompasses you in the tale of a post apocalyptic world where the luxury of living in bright lights and heat is a treasure. The series is about 20 episode long averaging around five minutes per episode. The show not only captures the audience with its premises, but it's delivery in conveying the story as well. This show has become such a success because the show creates traffic and makes people want to become part of the world created.
The series launched on July 17, 2012 with 10 episode out the gate. Each episode gave the audience just enough to whet their appetite while managing to leave them always wanting more. The careful marketing stratagies assisted in making this possible. Careful consideration was used in deciding placement on the web and the accouterments that would be used. Collaboration with the Yahoo website allowed the show to be hosted on the Yahoo screens. This was the first plan to gain exposure. With Yahoo being many of today’s go to search engine and email carrier, the advertisment for the show was constantly shown to the website's users. The second marketing plan to gain exposure was the gaming aspect. Hanks teamed up with iTunes and Google Apps to create little games that corresponed to the show. The games were fun and addicting and helped the players becomes part of the intricate story.
Hank's project used every means to help make the series so inclusive that just seeing the first 10 episodes leaves the audience begging for more. By using himself and other big name actors such as Ginnfer Goodwin to help back up the show through voice acting, fans were already stirring up chatter. However, Hanks knew that fan chatter would lead to media chatter on shows such as Good Morning America. He also created buzz by Comic-
con. Its is only natural for a collaboration such as this to get so much attention. This is a marketing concept that creates opportunity that can not and should not be ignored. Learning from this concept would be very benficial because it brings the community in.
These statagies show that the time you invest before the show actually airs come to fruition. The website hosted by Yahoo is so elaborate and detailed that the maps go along with the show. Instead of doing a full screen view, the page shows things such as the sun setting as it sets on screen. This is so engaging becauase the game downloaded from the app store serves a distinct and integral purpose to the flow of the show. This keeps users on the page and keeps them clicking on all the available snippets of the story that can be used to be a citizen of this new world. This generates more buzz through the best marketing tools available which is word of mouth. Others are brought on to be a part of this new feeling and community. The share button is hit on facebook and tweets are made about the show. Others make comments to add to the conversation and then more exposure is created. It becomes a cyclical cycle in the method of human on human exposure to the show.
If a webseries is to be successful it must pop and shine out the gate. But sometimes that is not always enough. By using social media as a means of exposure, the cycle begins and then starts anew.
Series can be found at http://electriccity.yahoo.com